News of the World (album)

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News of the World
Queen News Of The World.png
Studio album by Queen
Released 28 October 1977
Recorded July – September 1977
Studio Sarm West Studios and Wessex Studios, London
Genre
Length 39:30
Label
Producer
Queen chronology
A Day at the Races
(1976)A Day at the Races1976
News of the World
(1977)
Jazz
(1978)Jazz1978
Alternative cover
Cover sold in retailer Kmart's stores
Cover sold in retailer Kmart's stores
Singles from News of the World
  1. "We Are the Champions / We Will Rock You"
    Released: 7 October 1977
  2. "Spread Your Wings"
    Released: 10 February 1978
  3. "It's Late"
    Released: 25 April 1978 (US, Canada, New Zealand and Japan only)

News of the World is the sixth studio album by the British rock band Queen, released on 28 October 1977 by EMI Records in the United Kingdom and by Elektra Records in the United States. News of the World was the band's second album to be recorded at Sarm West and Wessex Studios, London, and engineered by Mike Stone, and was co-produced by the band and Stone.

In 1977, punk rock acts, most notably the Sex Pistols, sparked massive backlash towards progressive rock artists such as Queen, to which the band responded by simplifying their symphonic rock sound and gearing towards a more spontaneous hard rock sound.[4][5] The album subsequently went 4x platinum in the United States, and achieved high certifications around the world, selling over 10 million copies and became the band's bestselling studio album to date.[6]

Production[edit]

Having received some criticism that their first completely self-produced project, A Day at the Races, was a "boring" album,[7] Queen decided to shift their musical focus towards the mainstream but remain as the producers of the next album.

After completing the A Day at the Races tour, the quartet re-entered the studio to begin work on their sixth studio offering in July 1977, enlisting Mike Stone as assistant producer at the Basing Street and Wessex Studios in London. They scaled down their complex arrangements and focused on a "rootsier" sound (as Brian May put it). However the staple of the Queen sound, multi-tracked harmonies and guitar orchestrations, still exist on this album, albeit a bit more subtly. The album was primarily recorded in the same studio as The Sex Pistols, which eventually lead to now famous meeting between Mercury and Sid Vicious. Vicious, upon stumbling into Queen's recording studio, asked "Have you succeeded in bringing ballet to the masses yet?" in response to a comment the singer had made in an interview with NME, to which Mercury called him "Simon Ferocious" and replied "We're doing our best, dear."[8][9]

News of the World shows Queen's songwriting less dominated by May and Freddie Mercury than previously, with Roger Taylor and John Deacon composing two songs each. Its songs are notable for their eclectic themes which would crystallise on future albums Jazz and The Game: We Will Rock You and We Are the Champions are arena rock, Who Needs You features a Latin influence, Sheer Heart Attack is punk rock, Sleeping On the Sidewalk is based upon blues rock, Get Down, Make Love features funk overtones, My Melancholy Blues imitates jazz and Fight from the Inside was the groups first disco related song.[10][5] The group completed recording and production of the album two months later in September, and released the album on 28 October 1977.

Composition[edit]

Side one[edit]

"We Will Rock You"[edit]

"We Will Rock You" (About this sound sample) was released as the B-side of "We Are the Champions", and became one of Queen's biggest songs worldwide as a staple of arena and stadium sports. It was a conscious decision by Brian May to make the song simple and anthemic ("stomp, stomp, clap, pause" twice per 4/4 measure), so that their live audience could be more directly involved in the show. In the video for "We Will Rock You" and "Spread Your Wings", May used a copy of his guitar. He supposedly did not want to submit his Red Special to the weather, as the videos for these songs featured the band performing in the snow in Roger Taylor's garden.

On 7 October 2017, Queen released a Raw Sessions version of the track to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the release of News of the World. It features a radically different approach to the guitar solo and includes May's count-in immediately prior to the recording.[11]

"We Are the Champions"[edit]

According to Freddie Mercury, "We Are the Champions" had already been written in 1975 but was not recorded until 1977.[12] Released as a single with "We Will Rock You", "We Are the Champions" reached number two in the UK and number four in the US. "We Are the Champions" was the first promotional video for which fan club members were invited to participate in the filming. The video was filmed at the New London Theatre on 6 October 1977. Everyone received a free single of "We Are the Champions", a day before the single was released, and Queen did a free concert after the shoot.

On 7 October 2017, Queen released a Raw Sessions version of the track to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the release of News of the World. It was made from previously unheard vocal and instrumental takes from the original multi-track tapes. It also presents for the first time the original recorded length of the track, which is two choruses more than the 1977 edited single.[11]

"Sheer Heart Attack"[edit]

"Sheer Heart Attack" was half-finished at the time of the 1974 album of the same name. Taylor sang lead on the demo, but for the definitive version the band decided Mercury should sing lead vocals, with Taylor singing the chorus. Rhythm guitar and bass were played by Taylor, apart from some guitar "screams" by May during the instrumental section.[13]

During the time of the album's recording the punk rock movement came into public view, and this song was viewed as something of a jab at the new musicians who felt bands like Queen were too self-indulgent. Of note is the lyric "I feel so inarticulate", and the fact that Taylor stated in interviews that he thought many of the 1970s punk bands had very little talent.

"All Dead, All Dead"[edit]

"All Dead, All Dead" was written and sung by May, and features Mercury on piano and backing vocals. In an episode of In the Studio with Redbeard, May confirmed rumours that the song is partially inspired by the passing of his boyhood pet cat.[14]

On 27 October 2017, in celebration of the album's 40th Anniversary, Queen released a specially created "hybrid version" of the track featuring previously unheard lead vocals by Mercury. It was accompanied with an animated lyric video of a cat exploring a place that is later revealed to be the robot of the album cover ─ the cat being a tribute to Brian's original inspiration for the song as well as to Mercury, who was a devoted cat lover himself.[15]

"Spread Your Wings"[edit]

"Spread Your Wings" was written by bassist John Deacon. The piano is played by Mercury, although Deacon mimes it in the music video. The video was filmed at the backyard of Taylor's then house, when the weather was freezing, and the band performed in the snow. Mercury can be seen wearing star-shaped sunglasses in the video. May is seen playing a copy of his Red Special, owing to the cold weather conditions. Also, Taylor can be seen singing in the video despite the fact that there are no backing vocals in the song. It was the first Queen single without backing vocals.

"Fight from the Inside"[edit]

"Fight from the Inside" was written and sung by Taylor. In addition to the drums, he also plays rhythm guitar and bass guitar; for the latter he borrowed Deacon's instrument.

The track is built around a jangly guitar riff and is amongst the first in the Queen catalogue to focus predominantly on the drums and bass, as opposed to the lead guitars.[16] It is also one of the few songs in the band's discography recorded almost entirely by one member, another being "Sheer Heart Attack".

Guitarist Slash has cited the guitar riff to this song as one of his favourite riffs of all time.[17]

Side two[edit]

"Get Down, Make Love"[edit]

"Get Down, Make Love", written by Mercury, is among the most sexually oriented songs in the Queen catalogue.

The song was introduced into the band's live show immediately after its release, and remained a staple of their "medley" until the end of the Hot Space Tour of 1982. On the Hot Space tour, the song was reduced to the first verse/chorus only as a way to lead into May's guitar solo. Live, this song featured Taylor's use of Latin-influenced percussion with timbales on the News of the World Tour, and tightly tuned Remo Roto-Toms on the Jazz Tour, Crazy Tour, The Game and Hot Space tours.

The distinctive 'psychedelic' sound effects heard in the song were not produced on a synthesiser, but on May's Red Special and an Electroharmonix Frequency Analyzer pedal, which he would often do live. The studio cut featured an Eventide Harmonizer. These sound effects, together with Mercury's moans and groans, were expanded upon during live renditions of the song, the band taking an opportunity to show off the full potential of their stage lights and effects.

A more aggressive version of this song was covered by Trent Reznor's industrial rock project Nine Inch Nails as a B-side for the 1990 single, "Sin". It was later added as a bonus track to the 2010 remastered edition of Pretty Hate Machine.

"Sleeping on the Sidewalk"[edit]

"Sleeping on the Sidewalk", a blues excursion, was written and sung by May. It is the only song in their discography to be recorded (except for the vocals) in one take.[18] Lyrically, it deals with an aspiring trumpet player's career, delivered in a "rags-to-riches" fashion. May sings with an American accent and measures the aforementioned trumpet player's success by "bucks" (as opposed to pounds). On a close inspection, Deacon can be heard playing the wrong notes in some bass parts, and May can also be heard laughing at the end of the song. It is also one of the few Queen songs that does not feature Mercury, however, he did perform the lead vocals in live performances.

The band's web site states they were unaware that they were being recorded,[19] but May has cast doubt on the authenticity of this, though has confirmed the first take of the backing track was used.[20]

"Who Needs You"[edit]

"Who Needs You" was a song written by Deacon, who, along with May, plays Spanish guitar. Mercury's lead vocal is entirely panned on the right audio channel while the lead guitar is on the left channel. May also plays maracas and Mercury plays a cowbell.

"It's Late"[edit]

"It's Late", written by May, was his idea of treating a song as a three-act theatrical play. It makes use of the tapping technique.

"My Melancholy Blues"[edit]

"My Melancholy Blues" was composed by Mercury. There are no backing vocals or guitars. Despite the title, the track is more related to jazz. Deacon played fretless bass on stage during this song but used a regular fretted bass on the record.

Artwork[edit]

The album's cover was a painting by American sci-fi artist Frank Kelly Freas. Taylor had an issue of Astounding Science Fiction (October 1953) whose cover art depicted a giant intelligent robot holding the dead body of a man. The caption read: "Please... fix it, Daddy?" to illustrate the story "The Gulf Between" by Tom Godwin.[21] The painting inspired the band to contact Freas, who agreed to alter the painting for their album cover, by replacing the single dead man with the four "dead" band members (with Taylor and Deacon falling to the ground, and Taylor only visible on the back cover). The inner cover (gatefold) has the robot extending its hand to snatch up the petrified fleeing audience in the shattered auditorium where the corpses were removed.[22] Freas said he was a classical music fan and did not know Queen, and only listened to the band after doing the cover "because I thought I might just hate them, and it would ruin my ideas", but eventually liked their music.[21]

Promotion[edit]

Singles[edit]

  • "We Are the Champions" was released as the first single from the album on 7 October 1977 in the UK, where it reached number 2. In the US it reached number 4.
  • "Spread Your Wings" followed as the second single. Released in the UK on 10 February 1978, it reached number 34.
  • "It's Late" is the last single from the album; it was released in 1978, and only in the US, Canada, Japan and New Zealand. It only reached number 74 in the US, failing to chart everywhere else.

Tour[edit]

The News of the World Tour was a concert tour by Queen, supporting their successful 1977 album News of the World. Queen played 26 shows in North America and 21 in Europe. It was the tour first to feature 'We Will Rock You', 'We Are the Champions' and 'Love of My Life'.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[23]
Chicago Tribune2.5/4 stars[24]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music2/5 stars[25]
Q3/5 stars[26]
Rolling Stone2.5/5 stars[27]
The Village VoiceC[28]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide2.5/5 stars[29]

News of the World initially received mixed reviews, mostly reflecting on the album's shift towards a more mainstream sound, and away from the band's previous predominantly progressive rock sound.[30] The Washington Post commended the band's experimentation within a range of hard rock to soft rock,[7] while Rolling Stone magazine's Bart Testa noted, "Most of the songs on News of the World either challenge Queen's artistic enemies or endeavor to establish a vision of the new order." He further dismissed the album as "the salient fictions of which todays' Top Ten albums are made."[27] In a contemporary review for The Village Voice, Robert Christgau said that one side of the album is devoted to "the futile rebelliousness of the doomed-to-life losers (those saps!) (you saps!) who buy and listen", while the other is devoted to songs about indecent women.[28] The Valley News criticised it as being "tamer" than the bands first four LPs, but concluded that "Queen still pulls off top honors," particularly praising the production, Mercury's vocals and May's guitar work.[30]

Retrospective reviews of the record have been generally positive. In Creem magazine's annual poll, readers voted News of the World as the 19th best album of 1977.[31] BBC Music's Daryl Easlea said that the album is an exceptional showcase of "Queen's unerring ability to sound absolutely like no-other group – even when parodying other musical styles".[32] Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune observed that Queen had "ventured deeper into stadium rock",[24] while Brendan Schroer of Sputnikmusic also noted the relation to stadium rock, calling it "the great arena rock wonder" with very few flaws.[33]

2011 re-issue[edit]

On 8 November 2010, record company Universal Music announced a remastered and expanded reissue of the album set for release in May 2011. This was part of a new record deal between Queen and Universal Music, which meant Queen's association with EMI Records would come to an end after almost 40 years. According to Universal Music, all Queen albums would be remastered and reissued in 2011. This reissue included a deluxe edition which contains five additional tracks. The second batch of albums (the band's middle five albums) was released in June 2011.

40th anniversary edition[edit]

On 4 September 2017, Queen announced it would release a multi-format deluxe boxset marking the 40th anniversary of the album's original issue by the Virgin EMI label. The set contains previously unreleased outtakes and rarities from the band's archives, in the form of a newly created "alternative" version of the entire album, dubbed Raw Sessions. The boxset also includes a pure analogue vinyl LP, cut from the original analogue master mix tapes, and a brand new one-hour DVD documentary created from backstage material filmed during the North American leg of Queen's 1977 News of the World Tour.[34]

In promotion of the anniversary release, on 6 October Queen released the previously unheard Raw Sessions of "We Are the Champions" and "We Will Rock You".[11] On 27 October, the band published on their official YouTube channel a new version of "All Dead, All Dead" which features previously unheard lead vocals by Mercury, and was accompanied with an animated lyric video.[15] The box set was officially released on 17 November 2017.

In popular culture[edit]

The album as a whole has been released on Super Audio CD.[35]

The TV show Family Guy dedicated an episode plot line to the album cover, in which Brian scares Stewie with it. Seth MacFarlane stated that he based it off his fear of the cover when he was a child.

Marvel paid tribute to News of the World on the cover of X-Men Gold #11.[36] The cover, by artist Mike del Mindo, depicts a Sentinel holding Old Man Logan and Kitty Pride as Colossus plummets to the ground.

The giant robot from the album cover, also known as "Frank", was used as a special effect during the songs "We Will Rock You" and "Killer Queen" for the 2017–18 Queen + Adam Lambert Tour, which was in celebration of the album's 40th anniversary.[37][38]

Track listing[edit]

Original release[edit]

All lead vocals by Freddie Mercury unless noted.

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."We Will Rock You"Brian May 2:01
2."We Are the Champions"Freddie Mercury 2:59
3."Sheer Heart Attack"Roger TaylorMercury with Roger Taylor3:26
4."All Dead, All Dead"MayBrian May3:10
5."Spread Your Wings"John Deacon 4:34
6."Fight from the Inside"TaylorTaylor3:03
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
7."Get Down, Make Love"Mercury 3:51
8."Sleeping on the Sidewalk"MayMay3:06
9."Who Needs You"Deacon 3:05
10."It's Late"May 6:26
11."My Melancholy Blues"Mercury 3:29

40th anniversary edition[edit]

The multi-format deluxe box set features previously unreleased outtakes and rarities from the band's archives, as well as a newly created "alternative" version of the entire album, dubbed Raw Sessions. The boxset includes a pure analogue vinyl LP, cut from the original analogue master mix tapes, and a brand new one-hour DVD documentary created from backstage material filmed during the North American leg of Queen's 1977 News of the World Tour.

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1977) Peak position
Austrian Albums Chart[40] 9
Canadian Albums Chart[41] 2
Dutch Albums Chart[42] 1
French Albums Chart[citation needed] 1
German Albums Chart[43] 7
New Zealand Albums Chart[44] 15
Norwegian Albums Chart[45] 4
Swedish Albums Chart[46] 9
UK Albums Chart[47] 4
US Billboard 200[48] 3

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[49] 3× Platinum 300,000^
France (SNEP)[50] Gold 553,600[51]
Germany (BVMI)[52] Platinum 500,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[53] Platinum 100,000^
Poland (ZPAV)[54]
2008 Agora SA album reissue
Platinum 20,000*
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[55] Platinum 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[56] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[57] 4× Platinum 4,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Queen's 'News of the World': 10 Things You Didn't Know". Rolling Stone. ... the band responded by recording the most stripped-down and straightforward album of their career, one which went for a leaner, more spontaneous sound and feel while still retaining the melodic flamboyance and hard-rock heft of their multi-layered earlier work. 
  2. ^ "Queen's 'News of the World': 10 Things You Didn't Know". Rolling Stone. ... the rise of punk and New Wave was also calling into question the relevance of Seventies arena rock... 
  3. ^ Gaar, Gillian G.. "Album reviews of Queen's second box of reissues". Goldmine. Retrieved 17 June 2018. 
  4. ^ "Queen's 'News of the World: 10 Things You DIdn't Know". Rolling Stone. 
  5. ^ a b "Queen - News of the World: 40th Anniversary Edition album review". Loudersound.com. Retrieved 4 June 2018. 
  6. ^ "Queen's 'News of the World: 10 Things You Didn't Know". Rolling Stone. 
  7. ^ a b "Queen: Less Flamboyance, More of the Beatles". Originally published by Washington Post. Currently mirrored by Queen Archives. 28 December 1978. Retrieved 6 December 2007. 
  8. ^ "Queen's 'News of the World: 10 Things You DIdn't Know". Rolling Stone. 
  9. ^ "500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. 
  10. ^ Allmusic Review
  11. ^ a b c "We Are The Champions & We Will Rock You - The Unheard 'Raw Sessions'". Queen Online. Retrieved 27 October 2017. 
  12. ^ A Night at the Opera DVD commentary.
  13. ^ Purvis, Georg (2007). Queen: Complete Works. Richmond: Reynolds & Hearn. p. 43. ISBN 978-1-905287-33-8. 
  14. ^ Purvis 2007, p. 108.
  15. ^ a b "All Dead, All Dead: Unheard Freddie Lead Vocal and New Animated Video". Queen Online. Retrieved 27 October 2017. 
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ Sutcliffe, Phil; Hince, Peter; Mack, Reinhold (2009). Queen: The Ultimate Illustrated History of the Crown Kings of Rock. London: Voyageur Press. ISBN 0-7603-3719-5. 
  18. ^ "Queen's 'News of the World: 10 Things You DIdn't Know". Rolling Stone. 
  19. ^ "News of the World". Queen Online. Archived from the original on 3 December 2007. Retrieved 6 December 2007. 
  20. ^ "Brian May's Soapbox (January 28th, 2008)". Retrieved 25 January 2009. 
  21. ^ a b As the Symphony gets ready to rock, we remember a local artist, The Virginian-Pilot
  22. ^ "News of the World: Album Details". Queen Online. 
  23. ^ Allmusic Review
  24. ^ a b Kot, Greg (19 April 1992). "An 18-record, 80 Million-copy Odyssey". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 19 April 2016. 
  25. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. p. 2248. ISBN 0-85712-595-8. 
  26. ^ Q, September 1993, p.119: "The album contained such anthemic fare as 'We Will Rock You' and 'We Are The Champions'."
  27. ^ a b "News Of The World". rollingstone.com. 
  28. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (26 December 1977). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  29. ^ Nathan Brackett; Christian David Hoard (2004). The new Rolling Stone album guide. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 668. ISBN 978-0-7432-0169-8. 
  30. ^ a b "News of the World". Originally published by The Valley News. Currently mirrored by Queen Archives. 11 November 1977. Retrieved 6 December 2007. 
  31. ^ "Rocklist.net...Creem magazine selected readers". Rocklistmusic.co.uk. Retrieved 7 January 2012. 
  32. ^ Easlea, Daryl. "BBC - Music - Review of Queen - News Of The World". bbc.co.uk. 
  33. ^ Schroer, Brendan (8 October 2010). "Review: Queen – News of the World". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  34. ^ "Press Release: News Of The World - 40th Anniversary Edition". Queen Online. Retrieved 27 October 2017. 
  35. ^ "SA-CD.net - Queen: News of the World". www.sa-cd.net. 
  36. ^ "X-Men: Gold Pays Homage To A Queen Cover With A Unique History". bleedingcool.com. 22 June 2017. 
  37. ^ "Queen and Adam Lambert pay tribute to Freddie Mercury with rockin' Palace show". 
  38. ^ "Queen News - April 2017". brianmay.com. 18 April 2017. Retrieved 30 October 2017. 
  39. ^ "Feelings, Feelings - Queenpedia.com". Queenpedia. 
  40. ^ Steffen Hung. "Queen – News Of The World". austriancharts.at. Retrieved 7 January 2012. 
  41. ^ "Results – RPM – Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 7 January 2012. 
  42. ^ Steffen Hung. "Queen – News Of The World". dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 7 January 2012. 
  43. ^ "charts.de". charts.de. 28 February 1979. Retrieved 7 January 2012. 
  44. ^ "Queen – News Of The World (Album)". charts.org.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 June 2015. 
  45. ^ Steffen Hung. "Queen – News Of The World". norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved 7 January 2012. 
  46. ^ Steffen Hung. "Queen – News Of The World". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 7 January 2012. 
  47. ^ "Queen - full Official Chart History - Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com. 
  48. ^ "Queen". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 January 2012. 
  49. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Queen – News of the World". Music Canada. 
  50. ^ "French album certifications – Queen – News of the World" (in French). InfoDisc.  Select QUEEN and click OK
  51. ^ "Les Albums Or :" (in French). Infodisc.fr. Archived from the original on 1 November 2014. Retrieved 22 August 2012. 
  52. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Queen; 'News of the World')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  53. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Queen – News of the World" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. 
  54. ^ "Polish album certifications – Queen – News of the World" (in Polish). Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry. 
  55. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Queen; 'News of the World')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien. 
  56. ^ "British album certifications – Queen – News of the World". British Phonographic Industry.  Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Enter News of the World in the search field and then press Enter.
  57. ^ "American album certifications – Queen – News of the World". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]